Performance Space New York
150 First Ave. at East Ninth St.
Sunday, February 18, free, 6:00 pm - 1:00 am
After a major renovation, one of downtown’s best and most diverse venues is back, as Performance Space New York, formerly known as PS122, celebrates its return with a free event on Sunday night, “Avant-Garde-Arama.” Kicking off the East Village Series, the festivities will feature live performances from six to nine on several stages by a vast array of creators, including Adrienne Truscott, Erin Markey, Hamm, Holly Hughes, John Kelly, John Zorn, La Bruja of Nuyorican Poets Cafe, Penny Arcade, Pharmakon, Reggie Watts, and Sister Jean Ra Horror, among many others. At nine, a dance party takes over, with JD Samson, Justin Strauss, and more. The evening’s hosts are the Factress (Lucy Sexton), Carmelita Tropicana, and Ikechukwu Ufomadu. On its website, the venue declares, “Performance Space New York was born in the East Village in 1980 as Performance Space 122 when a group of local artists occupied the empty building that had been home to Public School 122 and started making performance work as a passionate rejection of corporate mainstream culture. Today, almost forty years later, Performance Space New York is faced with a radically transformed neighborhood unaffordable for young artists and a national political climate that feeds off social inequity more than ever. Moving back into our newly renovated spaces, the inaugural East Village Series asks what kind of art organization we need to become in light of this ever-more-exclusionary social and political context.” The East Village Series continues through June with such presentations as “Focus on Kathy Acker,” “Women’s History Museum,” Diamanda Galás and Davide Pepe’s Schrei 27, a world premiere by Sarah Michelson, Tiona Nekkia McClodden’s CLUB, Penny Arcade’s Bitch! Dyke! Faghag! Whore!, and Chris Cochrane, Dennis Cooper, and Ishmael Houston-Jones’s Them.
In a program note for his troupe’s winter season at the Joyce, Brooklyn-based choreographer Ronald K. Brown quotes Judith Jamison, the former longtime artistic director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater: “Dance is bigger than your physical body. When you extend your arm, it does not stop at the end of your fingers, because you’re dancing bigger than that; you’re dancing spirit.” Brown and Evidence, a Dance Company display that and more at their thrilling presentation at the Joyce, as arms reach out and reach up, searching for and finding spiritual fulfillment while energizing the rapt audience. The evening begins with Come Ye, a nearly half-hour piece with music by Nina Simone, including the title song, and Fela Anikulapo Kuti, performed by four men and four women in front of a screen that shifts in emotional colors from blue to red to orange before switching to archival footage of Simone, Fela, Muhammad Ali, Marcus Garvey, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and scenes from the civil rights movement. Occasionally, seven of the dancers will stand still, watching one dancer take over, while at other times one dancer will slowly move through the other seven, in full motion, as if all are bearing witness in their own way. As part of Carnegie Hall’s wide-ranging festival “The ’60s: The Years that Changed America,” the company is performing March, a duet excerpted from 1995’s Lessons and set to a speech by Dr. King, being performed as a tribute to the fiftieth anniversary of his assassination, with additional music by Bobby McFerrin. On opening night, Annique Roberts and Courtney Paige Ross teamed up in front of a dark background, moving determinedly, raising a hand when King speaks of “breaking down the barriers of segregation and discrimination,” later performing a breathtaking horizontal lift and carry. (On other nights, the duet will be danced by Keon Thoulouis with either Shayla Caldwell or Demetrius Burns.)
After a pause, Brown debuted Den of Dreams, a short piece celebrating the twentieth anniversary of Evidence dancer and associate artistic director Arcell Cabuag. It’s a dynamic piece about collaboration and trust, friendship and tribute, as Brown, who is fifty-one, publicly thanks Cabuag, who is forty-three, and Cabuag bows at the feet of his mentor. Brown, wearing an intoxicating smile through it all, also looks above, thanking the heavens for bringing them together. Opening night concluded with the rousing, nonstop Upside Down, an exhilarating excerpt from Brown’s 1998 Destiny, as the company, including Brown, cut loose to music by Wunmi, their arms pushing to the ground, then rising into the air in one of Brown’s trademark moves. The other nights will end instead with the company premiere of Dancing Spirit, which Brown created for Alvin Ailey in honor of Jamison’s twentieth anniversary as AAADT artistic director, as individual dancers perform slightly different routines to music by Duke Ellington, Wynton Marsalis, Radiohead, and War. If you’ve never seen Brown and Evidence before, this is a terrific introduction to a company that has been thrilling New York audiences for more than thirty years while also playing a key role in the Brooklyn community.
It’s always a thrill to see Ronald K. Brown’s Evidence, a Dance Company, bring its electrifying work to the Joyce, or anywhere, for that matter. Founded by Brown in 1985, the Brooklyn-based troupe dazzles audiences with its unique and inspired integration of traditional African dance with contemporary movement while emphasizing a strong sense of community and a social conscience. Evidence will be at the Joyce February 6-11, highlighted by the world premiere of Den of Dreams, a duet performed by Brown and Bessie winner Arcell Cabuag in celebration of Cabuag’s twentieth anniversary as associate artistic director, a job that includes teaching master classes and working with dance schools around the globe. Evidence will also present the company premiere of American Spirit, a 2009 work Brown choreographed for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in honor of Judith Jamison’s twentieth anniversary as AAADT artistic director, featuring music by Duke Ellington, Wynton Marsalis, Radiohead, and War and melding Afro-Cuban and Brazilian styles. Also on the bill are 2002’s Come Ye, a call for peace set to the music of Nina Simone and Fela Kuti, and March, a duet, excerpted from 1995’s Lessons, set to a speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., being performed as a tribute to the fiftieth anniversary of the reverend’s assassination. Opening night will also feature Upside Down, an excerpt from Brown’s 1998 Destiny, with music by Wunmi. The season is part of Carnegie Hall’s wide-ranging festival “The ’60s: The Years that Changed America” and will include a curtain chat following the February 7 show, a master class on February 9, and a family matinee on February 10. The dynamic company includes rehearsal director Annique Roberts, assistant rehearsal director Keon Thoulouis, Shayla Caldwell, Kevyn Ryan Butler, Courtney Paige, Demetrius Burns, and Janeill Cooper.
200 Eastern Parkway at Washington St.
Saturday, February 3, free, 5:00 - 11:00
The Brooklyn Museum honors Black History Month with its free February First Saturday program, featuring live performances by Aaron Abernathy, the Skins, Brooklyn Dance Festival, Everyday People, Latasha Alcindor (presenting All a Dream: Intro to Latasha), and Urban Word NYC, including teen poets William Lohier, Shakeva Griswould, Roya Marsh, Jive Poetic, and Anthony McPherson, hosted by Shanelle Gabriel; a screening of Sabaah Folayan and Damon Davis’s Whose Streets? followed by a discussion with Folayan and museum Teen Night Planning Committee senior member Elizabeth Rodriguez; pop-up gallery talks by teen apprentices in the “American Art” galleries; a community talk by Kleaver Cruz, founder of the Black Joy Project; a Black Joy photo booth with photographer Dominique Sindayiganza; a hands-on workshop inspired by the scratch and resist technique of Jean-Michel Basquiat; a curator talk by Eugenie Tsai on Basquiat’s “Untitled” (1982), part of the exhibition “One Basquiat”; and the community talk “Malcolm X in Brooklyn” by oral historian Zaheer Ali. In addition, the galleries will be open late so you can check out “One Basquiat,” “Roots of ‘The Dinner Party’: History in the Making,” ““Arts of Korea,” “Infinite Blue,” “Ahmed Mater: Mecca Journeys,” “Rodin at the Brooklyn Museum: The Body in Bronze,” “A Woman’s Afterlife: Gender Transformation in Ancient Egypt,” and more.
In conjunction with the exhibition Laura Owens, a midcareer survey of the work of the LA-based artist, the Whitney is hosting the immersive multimedia performance [title], by LA dancer, choreographer, and teacher mecca vazie andrews and her company, the MOVEMENT movement. The fifty-minute presentation will feature movement, sound, and projection as andrews responds to Owens’s radical style of painting, exploring freedom, enlightenment, and the future. The performance takes place on February 3 at 4:00, the day before the exhibition closes; tickets are ten dollars in addition to museum admission. Also currently on view at the Whitney are “Toyin Ojih Odutola: To Wander Determined,” “An Incomplete History of Protest: Selections from the Whitney’s Collection, 1940-2017,” “Where We Are: Selections from the Whitney’s Collection, 1900-1960,” and “Experiments in Electrostatics: Photocopy Art from the Whitney’s Collection, 1966-1986.”
In a December post on her blog, “. . . and another thing,” about her sixth evening-length work, Give Me More, and how it evolved from her thinking about the connective tissue known as fascia, Catherine Cabeen wrote, “The many scientists and somatic practitioners who are advocating for a more holistic view of the body are doing so at the same time that intersectional feminism has come to the fore of socio-political conversations. The current US administration has an impressively wide-reaching ability to hurt people, places, and things that I, and many in my community, care about. It occurred to me in the wake of the 2016 election, that shifting our perspective on our bodies from being a collection of disparate parts, to being a whole composed of diverse yet interrelated movements, could shed light on a helpful way to look at our society in general, and the Resistance in particular.” Dancer, artist, teacher, and choreographer Cabeen — who previously was a member of Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, the Martha Graham Dance Company, and Richard Move/MoveOpolis! — and her Hyphen company, which she founded in Seattle in 2006, will be presenting the world premiere of Give Me More at Theater for the New City January 25-27 at 8:00. The three-part piece about identity, inequality, fabric, drag, the nervous system, waste, and other concepts begins with the comedic duet “Glitter in the Gutter,” performed by Cabeen and Kristina Berger. The middle section is “This American Koan,” set to an original score by Mark Katsaounis and performed by Cabeen, Nya Bowman, Darby Canessa, Hector Cerna, Sarah Lustbader, Kathryn Maclellan, and Trebien Pollard on an interactive set featuring two hundred pounds of recycled clothing donated by the faculty, staff, and students of Marymount Manhattan College. Give Me More concludes with “. . . yet again,” a Cabeen solo with music by composer and multi-instrumentalist Westin Portillo. As Cabeen also notes on her blog, “So . . . a piece about gender, consumption, and environmental destruction has emerged from a meditation on fascia.” Just connect the dots. . . .